Disabled Manchester student Lauren navigates city and university thanks to cool TGA WHILL Powerchair from RKS

Lauren Peers, aged 20 from The Wirral, is revelling in her studies and social life through a new type of contemporary Japanese powered wheelchair supplied by Cheshire’s RKS – a TGA WHILL Model C.

Co-owned by Ailsa Reston, OT. RKS Occupational Therapy Services is based in Ellesmere Port. Ailsa’s business provides a comprehensive range of services and products to assist elderly and disabled people with independent mobility. Lauren has been an RKS customer for over a year as she has Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and other related conditions. 

Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS) are a group of rare inherited conditions that affect connective tissue and can lead to many symptoms such as joint hypermobility, wide-spread chronic pain and restricted mobility. This means Lauren is a part-time wheelchair user as walking longer distances is very challenging. As her condition has progressed, using a self-propelling wheelchair has become difficult hence she has chosen a TGA WHILL to remain independent around campus and the city. Her pioneering powerchair is like no other mobility device – it is a technologically advanced TGA product with ultra-modern styling and world-leading manoeuvrability.

Lauren has been studying in her first year at the Manchester School of Art. Her WHILL and the support of RKS have been instrumental to Lauren’s ability to study and live student life as best she can: “RKS have been so supportive of me and Ailsa always understands my needs. When using my manual wheelchair was starting to get tough, I revisited RKS to see if they could recommend a powered alternative. The pavements can be terrible in Manchester, uneven and difficult to negotiate. I was regularly having to ask my friends to come and rescue me in town when I had run out of energy, it was terrible, I felt so bad. As soon as I saw the WHILL by TGA I fell in love with it – it’s cool, modern and minimal. Ailsa fully assessed whether it would be suitable for me and following her clinical approval, I bought it. I now have the capabilities and peace of mind to travel all day long with an amazing battery range.”

“Lauren continues: “I’m lucky that both my halls of residence and studios are only a few years old so access is really good. The Art School at Manchester is very impressive with spacious studios. Access is made even easier with my WHILL as its omni wheels provide such a tight turning circle. I can access my room and en-suite, communal kitchen, corridors and lifts in my halls with no problem. My friends think my powerchair is so cool and they love the remote-control app. This means I can transfer out of my WHILL in lecture theatres or when at the Students Union bar plus park my powerchair out of the way. When I move out of halls next year my student accommodation will not be as accessible but I feel confident that my WHILL will still make life so much better.”

Lauren is a fan of live music and when her condition allows, she uses her WHILL Model C to attend local gigs and events. She can’t drive however her powerchair can be quickly dismantled by friends and placed in a car boot which is a massive advantage. On arrival, the three lightweight constituent parts are simply clicked together for onward independence. Lauren is able to enjoy the best of Manchester’s music scene at venues such as the Albert Hall, Apollo, Manchester Arena and Ritz.

The WHILL by TGA, as supplied by RKS, has been vital to Lauren fulfilling her student experience: “Without my WHILL I’d be lost. I’ve never owned a powerchair before but I’m pretty sure my WHILL would take some beating. It has so many fantastic features such as the numerical battery display so you know exactly how much power you have left; I can drive all day long with no worries. My friends tend to walk into town so I go with them, I have caught the bus a few times and taken my powerchair on-board. I benefit from quality time with my older brother who is also here at Manchester Uni. When my study workload isn’t too much, I love nothing more than going out to bars and venues… Manchester is a great place to be a student, made even better with a WHILL Model C.”

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